All you wanted were banana chips. It seemed a simple enough request. You wanted to slip in the store, buy your snack, successfully avoid contact with the cute check out clerk, and leave with your sweatpants intact.
But that's not what happened.
You walked into the store and grabbed a basket; headed down the aisles where your treasure lay. As you walked, you became eerily aware that not a single person besides you and the workers, cute clerk included in that mix, are even in the store. That could have something to do with the whipping blizzard outside, but maybe there's some football game everyone's watching that you missed out on.
You kept walking down the aisle, slippered feet padding softly along the store's tiled and germ sufficient floor. There was such an air of unspoken warning in the air that your hands tingled as you gripped the cart tighter and tighter. What was going on? Where were the usual crazy late night shoppers? The big families towing along seven children because they didn't have time to shop earlier in the week? The quiet old man who's there because his daughter forgot about him again? The teenagers who were too cool to party? The teenagers coming back from said party? The... people who really really wanted banana chips at three in the morning? Where was the whole underground cult you had come to know as Walmart after midnight?
They were too scared to face the blizzard, and now you were alone.
Did that make you the craziest of all, or were you now the only sane one? After all, what could a little bit of snow do?
You chuckled to yourself and shook off the impending doom feeling. The corner turned, you grabbed your chips, and started back towards the store's exit to check out. Then you stopped. There was someone behind you, watching your every move. You kept walking, not wanting to acknowledge their presence, but then they call out your name.
Your ever loving name.
How did they know you?
You hoped your hair didn't have spiders in it. You hoped you remembered to wash the chocolate milk stains off your shirt. You hoped to high heavens you didn't smell like kitty litter and desperation. You smiled and turned around.
"Hi, there." You waved a hand, the one that wasn't losing blood from gripping the grocery cart so intently.
There was a small child standing in front of you, a large, head lolling baby doll perched tight in her arms. You wanted to run away very, very quickly, but you didn't. You didn't run because when you turned around to get the jalapeño salad out of that funhouse carnival, you found yourself looking up at a full sized clown. They honked their bright red nose, and you whirled back around to face the baby doll girl.
"Mommy said you'd be a good playmate."
"Uh, no, actually, I'm very boring." The little girl's eyes flashed. You smiled again. A saw turned on behind you and you expected it to be the clown but no, someone else had joined the party. A very thin, very shrouded in black and terrifying someone who kind of looks like they want to saw you in half and eat your liver. "And I'm sure my liver tastes like crap, to be honest. Uh," you grabbed the bag of chips, "Do you guys like chips?"
The little girl's baby doll fell from her arms. "Suzy! No!" She screamed, and you jumped back into the clown's arms and screamed, and the dude with the saw started laughing, and the clown just kept on honking their darn nose.
The doll stood up and you buried your face in the clown's colorfully quilted jumper. Was this the end, you thought to yourself? Were you going to die at Walmart because your cravings for dried fruit were too strong, too compelling to overcome? Was it your destiny to be whatevered to death by a possessed doll with your face buried in the chest of a clown you had never even met before, who's only useful function seemed to be having sturdy arms? It must have been all the juggling, but you didn't care. You honestly did not give a single salt rock lamp from Costco's about this clown's sturdy arms. You cared, though, about the approaching doll, the frantic child trying to contain the demonic powers of said doll, and the whirring saw buzzing in your ears.
"Help me help me help me," you whispered against impressively soft fabric, "I don't want to die here. I didn't even get to eat my chips."
The clown stroked your hair and you didn't even tell them to stop. You just really didn't want to watch that doll get any closer.
The tiny footsteps stopped.
The saw stopped.
Your heart almost stopped when you looked up.
It was the clerk of your orange filled dreams! They had smashed the baby doll with your bag of banana chips! You jumped down from the clown's safe arms.
"Thank you so much!"
The clerk and the clown both said, "You're welcome!"
The guy with the saw stalked off to go buy his wife some chocolate, and the little girl's mom came by and, shaking her head, told her that next time one of her dolls tried to kill someone, they'd have to stop buying from historical museums.
"I really can't stay." You did have three more seasons of that Australian farmer dating show you started watching while folding socks the other day. For some reason, though, you didn't want to leave.
"But baby it's cold outside..." The clerk said, getting back to your cart with a new bag of banana chips.
"I gotta go away..."
"This is not three in the morning karaoke." The clown wasn't very cheerful for a clown, but they had been rejected by the local clown college that morning and they weren’t in the mood for festivities. They had come to Walmart to buy an obscenely large bucket of bleach so that they could dump it over their head and their clothes, once so vibrant and full of life, would be as empty and blank as they now were.
"Um, guys?" The cute clerk pointed at the floor. The pieces of doll were moving, coming back together as though magnetically pulled by some unseen force.
You grabbed the clerk's hand and pulled the clown in front of both of you, hoping their cynical views on karaoke would send enough bad energy at the doll to throw her back to her grave.
But it was too late, because the doll had been abandoned one too many times.
She was not interested in playtime any longer. She wanted human blood to drip from her painted lips. She wanted revenge. She wanted to rip you, your new clerk hero, and the clown to pieces, and it seemed like there was nothing you could do to stop her. For the second time that night or morning or whatever three am classifies as, you were holding onto someone you didn't know and praying they would have enough strength to let you, you know, not die.
A tiny ceramic hand reached out and tapped your ankles. You clutched the clerk AND the clown so close to you you could feel their heartbeats behind their rib cages. The clerk smelled like apple banana shampoo. The clown had pretty eyes. You tried to refocus your attention on the baby doll's hand on your ankles.
The doll managed to make even the simplest of words strike fear into your heart. You would have told the clerk to call 911 on their little walkie talkie, but how believable would the scenario be? You jumped up and down, still holding both clerk and clown in arms, and shook the baby doll off your ankles. Great. Now she was even more angry, and you were going to get the worst part of the stick because you dared to kick her.
The clown started singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” under their breath and the clerk hummed along beside you. You said, “Stop singing! We’re about to die!”
“Suzy!” The little girl who had abandoned her doll had now escaped her mother and was hauling the porcelain monster back into her arms. “No!” She whacked her upside the broken head. “Bad bad doll!”
You watched her leave the aisle; watched the little girl leave while her doll’s manic black eyes rolled back in her head and she opened her mouth and howled, louder than all the clown’s nose’s honking, louder than the sound of banana chips busting all over the floor, and even louder than your own frantic sobs.
You let go of your new friends. At least, you were assuming they were your friends seeing as you did almost die with them not once but twice. The clown stared at you and readjusted their wig, probably thinking you pathetic for crying, and smelling like kitty litter, and not having washed the stains off your shirt.
“I’m sorry,” you blubbered, “I got scared and you were the only two people around.”
The clerk rolled their eyes. “You still have to pay for those chips I broke for you, you know.”
“Uh, that is not what I call quality customer service!”
The clown shook their head at both of you. “I’ll pay for the chips.”
You felt so happy to have had the fortune to meet this kind soul, this generous clown.
Too bad the banana chips were the only thing keeping your raging vampire compulsions in check.
Too bad it had been more than a week since you last had them to crunch instead of the soft bones of a nice, innocent mortal.
Too bad the doll wasn’t the only killer in the store that night.
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This is an awful story, I'm sorry I wrote it, I'm sorry if you read through the whole thing. I tried to be scary and it ended up sounding like I was chronically constipated but like, the writer's block version of that. Mil disculpas, my friends.
It was odd but i did like the twist ending so I wouldn't call it terrible. And it did have some humor to it.
Three things I've learned from this story. 1. When all else fails, sing Bohemian Rhapsody under your breath 2. Don't save innocent "mortals" cause they might be bloodthirsty vampires 3. Always have enough money to pay for your own banana chips. You said that you thought your prompt was bad this week, but in truth, it wasn't bad at all. It was horrifyingly humorous. Great writing, A.
Haha, thank you so much for reading! And yes, those are amazing lessons to take away. I'm working on the next story right now so let's hope it's also not bad at all.
It won't be! Don't worry! Sincerely, A.
Great horror story! The ending gave me chills! (Although it was a little bit vague). That was such a great intake on the prompt! :)
Thank you, Avaniiiii!
I felt like I was reading Stephen King and the typical Walmart crowd on Latenight TV. It’s 3:55am where I’m reading this, the house is dark and a storm is raging. It fit right in.
I've never read Stephen King but thank you!
Haha loved it. Spooky, silly, great ending. Way to go.
:D Thank you for reading!
I'm in the middle of an online class right now. Just know that I'll come back to read and comment on it:)
No worries! Keep studying!
Even though you say it's "awful" it was quite an interesting read 😅 And you have quite the imagination! Overall, a really nice job, you have great skills! 💜✨
Haha, thank you so much!
This one was definitely weird. I wasn’t quite comfortable with the weirdness, but then killer dolls scare me! Nice going.
Thank you, I probably won't be writing anything like this in the future; it's not my brand!
Haha, I really enjoyed this story. The protagonist was so relatable and down to earth. Plot was wacky and fun. And I loved the twist at the end. Plus banana chips are awesome! =)
They are so awesome! And it's awesome of you to read, so thanks!
hey, i still think as a whole this story turned out pretty well! i still found it to be horrifying (though that might just be because clowns freak me out). it seemed to be a nice mixture of 'scary' and funny, so almost like a satire of a scary movie maybe?? i also really liked the part when the clown started singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and the clerk started to hum along - i laughed way too much at that part. honestly, i also really thought your narrator was the best part, just because they were so relatable (especially in that first paragrap...
Thank you so much, Courtney! Now that I'm reading again I do see parts of it that make me laugh, so thanks for the positive feedback as always. The prompts for this week have been kind of rough to write for, honestly!
i know right!!! i had such a hard time coming up with a story idea using one of the prompts, and as of right now the idea i have is still very, very vague, so hopefully i can make something out of it.
You always manage to make it work, as Tim Gunn would say!
This made me a little uncomfortable but that’s not a bad thing. It’s not bad at all. I hope you get a moment to read my version. It’s fun to see the different ideas.
Haha, of course! And do check out my other stories too, because they're not all like this!
Oh my God. I guess a have a new favorite. This is out of the world. I mean you've described everything so well. Maintaining the suspense throughout to keep the readers hooked until the end. And, the ending definitely topped it all. Funny that I am writing this week's story on the very same prompt. I hope you read it. Once again, I want to say this is amazing, Rhondalise. I certainly have to come up with something better now;) Kidding, I hope this wins:))) P.s: I spotted just one mistake though: As you walked, you became eerily aware t...
Haha, I'm chuckling because it seems like every time I write a story that I don't like myself, others seem to enjoy it a lot! I will definitely read your new story, I always do! And I'm sad for you and Zilla about people decreasing your points. That's no good. You both earned your places on the leaderboard and I'm so proud for both of you. I'll do my best to keep you guys where you are! Fourth place is where I'd like to stay. It's cozy. :D
Don't be sad! That's so sweet of you to say:)
And you know which rank is mine? Invisible Rank. It's good and cozy up here too🤙 And I get it, people are crazy and jealous about you, amazing writers being in the leaderboard, points matter a lot, but we don't care about em, right?
Ah, we know your worth nonethelesss, my friend! All good things come to those who wait, and work hard, and have kind people around them.
Está bien, Rhonda (forgive my Spanish haha) You did a great job, I enjoyed the entire story and nope, this ain't awful as you put it. It was thrilling😊❤️
It's still a tiny bit awful but thank you!
Tiny bit?? Okay. Anytime, amiga🖤
This was ... scary and weird. The twist at the end was so good and unexpected! You don't say directly that the main character is a vampire, but you give enough hints so that the reader knows what you're trying to say! Now that I look back, at the start, you did give a small hint that the guy is a vampire! It's, "avoid contact with the cute check out clerk,". Score: 4.7 out of 5
Hooray! I love that score. Thank you! :D
You're welcome! :)
that was really unexpected! I like how you write the action sequence with fluidity :) keep going! By the way, if you have time, will you check out my story? I also wrote on the same prompt and it's interesting to see how we interpret it so differently!! XD
I noticed this story because we have very similar opening lines to the same prompt, and I’m so glad I read this! This made me laugh out loud so many times. You have such a great eye for the funniest little details (love the chocolate milk stains bit, the Australian farmer dating show bit, the Bohemian Rhapsody bit), and your voice here is so distinct and funny. I love the many twist and turns this took, especially the part where it turns out the main character was a vampire, of all things. There were a few perspective shifts in this story I ...
This made me laugh out loud, and the ending was beautiful. This needs to be framed as a masterpiece! I hope you keep churning out, " awful ", stories!